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Watch the Smile perform a Tiny Desk Concert: NPR

NPR Music story by Bob Boilen

Surely my musical highlight for 2022 was this Tiny Desk concert from The Smile. Just how Radiohead‘s Thom YorkeJonny Greenwood, and Sons of Kemet drummer Tom Skinner were going to perform songs from their sonically adventurous album A Light for Attracting Attention was a puzzle not only to me but to the band. They arrived early, along with saxophonist Robert Stillman, to test out several tunes and figure out just what made sense behind my desk — minus the volume and effects that shape the album’s sonic landscape. For roughly 90 minutes, the Tiny Desk crew was treated to a casual rehearsal, witnessing the band’s creative companionship work itself out, settling on four songs.

I generally crank up the volume when I listen to The Smile, but as the band settled into the opening song, “Pana-vision,” Thom Yorke’s fingers gently stroking the piano keys with his voice not much louder, I was drawn in; the mood felt simultaneously mysterious and welcoming with the bass, sax and drums punctuating the now surreal atmosphere.


  • “Pana-vision”
  • “The Smoke”
  • “Skrting On the Surface”

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